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J Occup Health year 2007 volume 49 number 2 page 134 - 139
Classification Original
Title Lifestyle-Determined Gender and Hierarchical Differences in the Lead Contamination of Bones from a Feudal Town of the Edo Period
Author Tamiji NAKASHIMA1, Kohji MATSUNO2 and Takayuki MATSUSHITA3
Organization 1The First Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, 2Bio-information Research Center, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan and 3The Doi-ga-hama Site, Anthropological Museum, Japan
Keywords Gender and hierarchical differences, Lead contamination of human bones, Edo period, Lifestyle, Aristocratic characteristics
Correspondence T. Nakashima, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, Kitakyushu city, Fukuoka 807-8555, Japan
(e-mail: tnakash@med.uoeh-u.ac.jp)
Abstract Lifestyle-Determined Gender and Hierarchical Differences in the Lead Contamination of Bones from a Feudal Town of the Edo Period: Tamiji NAKASHIMA, et al. Department of Anatomy, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan-We analyzed lead concentrations in bones from both genders of Japanese merchants (including rohnin; masterless samurai) and farmer classes, and compared the findings with those of the samurai class in the Edo period (1603-1867) to clarify gender and hierarchical (or occupational) differences in lead exposure during the Japanese feudal age. Merchant class females had significantly higher lead exposure (90.8 microg Pb/g dry bone; n=20) than males of the same class (39.9 microg Pb/g dry bone; n=31) (p<0.01), indicating a remarkable gender difference in the urban population. In contrast to these high concentrations, males and females of the farmer class living in agricultural (or semi-rural) areas had significantly lower exposure (total mean value; 9.2 microg Pb/g dry bone; n=4) than both genders of the merchant class (p<0.001), and the gender difference was not significant in this class.